BATAVIA (WKBW) During early discussions of the Bills new stadium planning committee, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said the group was looking at several potential locations for a new stadium for the Bills including in downtown Buffalo, in Niagara Falls, and in Batavia.
"We want the Bills in Western New York, and if that happens to be in Genesee County, then both those things can happen," Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell said.
It is no major city and probably not the first potential landing spot many Bills fans would think of as a future home for the team, but leaders in Batavia say they do have one big advantage.
"Three words: location, location, location. And we have it," developer Tony Mancuso said.
Not just the fact that Batavia is dead center between Buffalo and Rochester and along the thruway, but because of a massive potential stadium site just north of the Batavia exit of the thruway. Current farmland that is shovel ready.
"What we have here is over 600 acres of virgin land. The site is already approved for multi use development, stadium type development. We already have the infrastructure for the water, the sewer, the road," Mancuso said.
The idea already has the backing of Genesee County, the Town and City of Batavia, and developer Tony Mancuso who has been spear-heading the project. Leaders in the area believe that they are the only ones with this kind of a site, with no buildings, brownfields, or past history to deal with before construction of a stadium could begin.
"there is pretty much what I would call a clean site. I'm not sure that is the case in all cases, in say Niagara Falls and or in downtown Buffalo. We have that one distinct advantage," Jay Gsell said.
"I can't imagine any community is ahead of what we've already done. We're five years into this project and we've been working on it a long time," Tony Mancuso added.
But what about the current lease? Erie County says it is ironclad, with a court decision and a 400 million dollar penalty to keep the team from moving out, even just up the road to Batavia.
"That that's going to stop someone who is going to be paying $800 million to a billion dollars for a franchise. At that point, that consortium will pay whatever they need and whatever venue they find to be to their best advantage," Gsell said.
And if the team did move, it would be one of the biggest things to ever come to Batavia.
"Obviously the economic benefit would be huge, all the ancillary jobs," Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post said.
"I know all the restaurants here, all the stores, hotels, would definitely benefit from all the additional business and the additional activity in the area," Batavia City Manager Jason Molino added.
"It might be akin to as fabulous as the Bills finally winning a superbowl. So think about it on those terms. To me it's kind of like the touchdown of all touchdowns," Gsell said with a smile.
For now, Batavia as well as the many other potential sites of a new stadium, must simply wait.